The American University in Cairo: Supporting Egypt Vision 2030 Through Digital Transformation

Key Takeaways

  • An institution’s digital transformation strategy should go beyond the IT department
  • Providing a solid platform enables a better overall experience for the institution and students
  • Technology helps change the future of higher education and improves the quality of education

Dr. Iman Megahed, AVP for Digital Innovation and Chief Strategy Officer, the American University in Cairo

Supporting Egypt Vision 2030 through digital transformation American University of Cairo invests in the cloud to sustain economic development.

Egypt 2030 Vision is focused on a number of pillars, but mainly all of them are profoundly impacted by education. So our collective vision as a country is to improve our education system because that's the only way our country will move forward.

So from quality of education—which is the core mission that we are focused on—we had to focus on how we can go online and do blended learning, and assess everything that has to do with quality of education—how we can do that differently, how we can do that better, how we can use technology and harness its power to promote quality of education while offering the same AUC experience. We are huge on the AUC experience. So, we had to make sure that whatever processes we’re building are better, more automated, and are very student centric. We want to make sure that the student’s experience is always better and one of the main drivers for that is how we use digital transformation, or digitization, to improve all of that.

With our strategy, our IT digital transformation, one of the key pillars is moving systems to the cloud, but we're not doing that as an end in and of itself. This is a means to improve things and to add value for us to do this with every new system. We take every new upgrade on a case-by-case basis, so even though we have a strategy to move, we're not just doing that for the sake of moving—we look at every case, we analyze it well, we plan carefully, we make sure that we have KPIs of success so we know what success means afterward. We engage customers, we communicate, so we have a very well laid out plan for each move and that's why moving to the cloud has been very smooth and very carefully laid out and more or less successful.

The benefits of going to the cloud for students are many, but mainly what students care about is a better experience—and for us to deliver this we have to make sure that we're on a solid platform that is capable of delivering value, that is capable of scaling up, that is capable of performing faster at peak times as well as average times—and that's what a cloud performance, or a solid cloud performance, offers us.

Within that plan, the main transformations or innovations that we are focusing on, because we believe they will actually drive value, is moving to the cloud or actually going beyond the campus. Second is going paperless, so instead of all of that paper and bureaucracy, we want to move faster and have a more agile administration that would help us progress faster, as well as going to mobile. Third is data, open data, analytics, predictive analytics, data mining, artificial intelligence—the whole world is looking at this.

We highly believe in harnessing all the information that we have and since we're 100 years old, we have a lot of information—we have information that goes back to 1988. So, looking at all this information allows us to drive decision-making in a different form based on artificial intelligence, data mining, and all the new trends that is happening in the world.

This is the new paradigm and we are heading there—in my opinion, we're leading a little bit there in this industry.

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